Photo credits, from left: Rachel Neville, courtesy Jasmine Cruz; Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow; Gabby Fenimore, courtesy the Jackson family

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Cast Your Vote in the 2020 Cover Model Search Contest!

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2020 Cover Model Search finalists: Jasmine Cruz, Abigail Jackson, and Jamaii Melvin! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2020 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Jasmine's profile

Read Abigail's profile

Read Jamaii's profile

Then, vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day, now through July 15.

*UPDATE: Due to issues with the voting form, we've extended the voting period. Voting will now end at 10 am Eastern time on Friday, July 17.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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Whether through color-specific costumes, classes separated by sex, or the "traditional" view of the roles boys and girls should play in ballet, most dance students are taught that their gender determines their role in the studio beginning in elementary school. And, especially for those struggling with their own gender identity, that can cause harm and confusion. "From a very young age, I did not see myself reflected anywhere in the modern dance field," says trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey. "There was a really intense message I received, which was that my body and identity don't have a place here."

Despite significant societal progress in regards to gender representation, the dance world has trailed behind, and many transgender and gender nonconforming teenagers still feel lost within the world of dance. Prominent trans and GNC professional dancers are few and far between. "Being a Black trans woman means I have to work extra, extra, extra hard, because I have to set the tone for the people who come after me," says Brielle "Tatianna" Rheames, a distinguished voguer.

But the rise of social platforms has given Rheames, Dorsey, and other trans and GNC dancers a path to visibility—and that visibility helps create community and change lives. "Social media plays an extremely big part," Rheames says. "You can't just hide us anymore." Here are eight incredible trans and GNC dancers to add to your own Instagram feed.

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